DA questions arms deal decision

2011-06-05 18:19
Johannesburg - The DA will hand over a six-page memorandum to Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee (Scopa) chairperson Themba Godi, which "raises some serious questions about the controversial decision to close the investigation into the multibillion-rand arms deal", DA MP David Manier said on Sunday.

"The memorandum was drafted by General Hans Meiring, Divisional Commissioner responsible for Commercial Crime in the Hawks, and was obtained as a result of a request, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, for documents relating to the decision to close the investigation into the arms deal," he said.

The memorandum recommended that Hawks head Anwa Dramat close the investigation into British Aerospace (now known as BAE Systems) and the German Frigate Consortium legs of the arms deal.

Manier said the memorandum was "poorly drafted, including clangers such as referring to BAE Systems as British Eurospace, and contains a number of contradictions and errors of fact".


These included the claim that three suspects in the BAE Systems leg of the deal had passed away when one of the alleged suspects, Fana Hlongwana, who allegedly received more than R200m in payments from BAE Systems, "is very much alive"; the complaint that there were difficulties obtaining evidential material, while at the same time conceding that the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office shared information informally with South Africa’s Directorate of Special Operations and that 460 boxes of documents and 4.7 million pages of documents existed which should be “perused and analysed”.

"It is hard to believe that this memorandum, riddled with contradictions and factual errors, formed the basis of the decision to close the investigation into the arms deal.

"General Anwa Dramat has, for more than six months, resisted the request to provide an update in 'exhaustive detail' on the status of the investigation into the arms deal to Scopa.

"Evidently, General Dramat and the Hawks think they are beyond scrutiny and oversight by Parliament. The memorandum will hopefully provide a sufficient basis for summoning General Dramat and the Hawks to appear before Scopa."

Manier said the DA would therefore provide a copy of the memorandum to Godi and call on him to summon Dramat to appear before Scopa to explain the decision to close the investigation into the arms deal.

"The fact is that General Anwa Dramat and the Hawks should not be allowed to avoid being held accountable to Parliament."

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